By Dave Ashton
The writing is clearly on the wall. Electric vehicles are on a slow trudge to take over the world. This may not ultimately affect muscle cars as there will always be a place for the mighty V8. But when it comes to high-powered engine swap, electric alternatives are now trickling in, as discussed over a digitaltrends.com with a possible viable options for the traditional LS engine swap.
The initial argument for going down the electric route is simply reliability. According to the article, the basic premise is why have an engine with hundreds of moving parts with loads of icky liquids running through it, when you can have an engine with one single moving part. The traditional LS swap may provide all the power you need, but for every horsepower gained, the engine becomes ever more temperamental.
Electric GT are the guys behind the test engine in question, which provides not just the V8 lookalike e-Crate Motor, but also also all the other bits and battery cells to run the thing.
Checking out the company’s website, they have complete crate motor power plants, for instance the GTE-240 with 240 horses. While they also offer many other separate parts, such as battery management systems, motors, cooling systems and complete electrical hookup systems. All the systems available can be hooked up to a regular transmission and for anything from small roadsters to a large sized SUV.
If this particular way of thinking has already tickled your fancy, you may be already wondering about the initial costs. For a complete system dropped into your favorite vehicle, prices are on average are $59,999. One example build on their website is for a 1967 to 1969 Camaro or Pontiac Firebird conversion, which will deliver 240hp with 350lb/ft of torque, which they say feels more like 400hp in a traditional V8.
As for the looks of the engine, it certainly has the outer appearance of a traditional V8. Just with smaller dimensions and none of the usual wires, hoses and usual engine paraphernalia.
The initial costs will be the biggest downside to many. But we can see that it’s only a matter of time before these type of retrofits drop considerably in price. Especially when demand starts to increase and the cost of parts drop accordingly.
Which means that if you have the cash to splash, the current offerings from Electric GT could be a viable way to electrify a vintage muscle car. But for everybody else, even a Chevrolet Performance DR525 LS 6.2L drag racing crate engine that produces 525hp with all the bits needed, is still far cheaper, with plenty of money left over for when things do go wrong. Plus, a traditional engine has a built-in soundtrack, visceral feel and smells that are equally as important.
Electric engines are well on their way and there’s no denying their instant torque capabilities. But I think we have quite a few years before they become the de facto standard.
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